Bust of a Woman with Arms Crossed behind Her Head
November 7, 1939
Oil on canvas
81 × 65 cm
Museo Picasso Málaga. Gift of Christine Ruiz-Picasso. MPM1.6
The terror of impending war is evident in Picasso’s nudes of the late 1930s. Remaining in occupied Paris, the artist continued to work, but a grey veil of despair descended over his paintings. His small sculptures of heads resemble tiny skulls and carved pebbles; despite their size, they powerfully convey the anguish of the times.
‘I have not painted the war because I am not the kind of painter who goes out like a photographer for something to depict. But I have no doubt that the war is in these paintings I have done.’
[Picasso quoted in Peter D. Whitney, ‘Picasso is safe’, San Francisco Chronicle, September 1944, no. 3]